Horror Mash-up: Bette Davis & Frances Dee

Published May 18, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Bette Frances Duo

Though they share no screen time, 1934’s Of Human Bondage proved to be a successful project for Frances Dee, who would go on to headline Val Lewton’s classic 1943 offering I Walked With a Zombie, and Bette Davis, whose take on the spiteful Mildred Rogers finally established her as a star of significant reckoning.

davis bondageDavis, of course, would go on to become one of the queens of gothic horror with appearances in such revered projects as Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. Here, though, her determination to artistic truth emerged via her insistence that Mildred’s decline not be a pretty one, but a dark and realistic journey.  Her perseverance was also tested here as she was, reportedly, not treated well by her co-star Leslie Howard, who felt that a Brit should have been cast in the role in deference to the film’s English setting.

Dee has the nicer, less meaty role here. As the kind and understanding woman who eventually gains Howard’s heart, she does project a luminous quality that would bring her good stead in her most famous role of Betsey Connell, a nurse introduced to the ominous world of voodoo in (the above mentioned)  I Walked with a Zombie.frances dee bondage.jpg

This is truly Davis’ show, though. Compelling even as her repellant actions to Howard’s club footed Philip Carey make one wonder what he could ever see in her, she provides a bravura performance that has lingered in the public consciousness for decades.

Now, be sure to wipe your mouth, wipe your mouth…and until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Gisele MacKenzie

Published May 13, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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A classical violinist and acclaimed singer, Gisele MacKenzie, as other distinguished talents before her, lent her vocal cords to the horror universe for a low budget take on Edgar Allen Poe’s The Premature Burial, 1972’s One Minute Before Death.

Well known as a continent hopping entertainer with a true sense of class, MacKenzie also showed a humorous side by recording such novelty numbers as Oh Pain! Oh Agony! Know What I Mean, Jelly Bean?

MacKenzie, who made latter day appearances on such television programs as The Young and the Restless – where she temporarily took over as Katherine Chancellor for Jeanne Cooper – and Murder, She Wrote, earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame before her passing of colon cancer at the age of 76 in 2003. It was truly a deserving tribute for such a well rounded talent.

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Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Review: Secret Santa

Published May 10, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Secret Santa

Some people like a little self referential humor in their horror films. Others like a little bit of Eugene O’Neill. As evidenced by Secret Santa, the talented folks at Skeleton Crew like a bit of both. This explosive horror comedy takes place on Christmas Day with one of the most dysfunctional, purely enjoyable families that you’ll ever meet…and the results are predictably (and, often, not so predictably) bloody.

With good reason, April is reluctantly bringing her boyfriend Ty home for the holidays. Her mother, Shari, is an arch diva. Her sister, Penny, is a resentful malcontent. On the other side of the sexes, her stepbrother, Jackson, is a little too touchy feely while her father, Leonard, is persona non grata around the premises. Soon, though, April is dealing with more than just tense talk and frayed emotions between meal courses. Someone on the premises is determined that things get real during this visit…real bloody, that is. Thus, the typical family battles now have a body count…a big one.

Secret Santa ShariSmarting from the way their work was transformed on the big budget Texas Chainsaw 3D, screenwriters Adam Marcus (Jason Goes to Hell) and Debra Sullivan work with relatable menace here. Everyone (with any kind of familial issue) will be able to recognize themselves in one awkward moment or another as the proceedings unfold. Thankfully, the script is also high on laughs and gruesome kills. Totally devoting themselves to the project, Marcus also directs the proceedings with pure joy. Sullivan, meanwhile, rings every note out of the self centered Shari. Hers is a delicious performance, worthy of applause from that master of diva characterizations, Tennessee Williams. In fact, that literary savant would have surely found his creative juices flowing if he had been lucky enough to see her work in this.

The cast, as a whole, is particularly good, though. Importantly, A Leslie Kies simply radiates as April, bringing heart, truth and fury to the role. She is matched, note for note, by her co-stars.

But what truly marks Secret Santa as something special is its diversity and inclusiveness. Marcus and Sullivan provide roles for women of body types and age ranges that are generally ignored here. Their cast is also racially and culturally diverse. In Kyle, enthusiastically and sensitively played by Drew Lynch, they also help create one of the most unique and interesting gay characters to ever be featured in a horror film. Sweet natured with a hesitant stutter, Kyle grows, immeasurably, throughout the film. Hiding his sexuality at first, by the film’s end he is out and proud and able to produce the film’s sweetest and truest moments with a determined grace. Here’s hoping, as the spectrum of the terror community grows ever more fluid, that Marcus and Sullivan will lead the way to more projects such as this one. It’s the horror future that all fans truly deserve. …and I’m sure that, in whatever universe they may be floating in now, Williams and O’Neill would totally (bloody) agree. Secret Santa Kyle

More information on Secret Santa, which is currently hitting a variety of festivals and film events, is available at https://www.facebook.com/secretsantathemovie/.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Maureen O’Hara

Published May 6, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

Maureen

As many Hollywood legends before her, the exquisite Maureen O’Hara released an album of love songs and warbled her way through many a scenario in the films that she made in her heyday.

In the early ‘70s, this multi-talented glamour queen, who made her mark starring in such gothic enterprises as Jamaica Inn and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, made a number of singing appearances on shows hosted by Andy Williams and others.

Perhaps best known to modern audiences for playing John Candy’s overbearing mother in 1991’s Only the Lonely, O’Hara continued to make sporadic appearances in projects before her death in at the age of 95 in 2015.

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Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Killer Piñata 2 Kickstarter

Published May 4, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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Angry Mule Productions is back at it again. Thankfully! This groovy group of Chicago based independent filmmakers is revisiting the world of their truly fun independent horror Killer Piñata, a great return to the goofy strain of low budget ‘80s horror, with a follow-up, Killer Piñata 2: More of Them.

Nicely, working that throwback vibe succinctly, Danny Hassel from the A Nightmare on Elm Street series fame will be joining the madness this time around. Even more importantly, the sexuality of Eliza, the film’s original lead, will be more fully explored in this venture. She will even have a kick-ass girlfriend to help her deal with the film’s horrific, candy spewing onslaught.

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To get involved and make sure that this inclusive, comedic offering sees the light of day, be sure to visit the Kickstarter campaign at:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/453452365/killer-pinata-2-more-of-them-feature-length-horror

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Fifth Harmony

Published April 29, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

fifth harmony monster 2

The ladies of Fifth Harmony may have found that one’s personal creativity is the scariest thing to a group’s equilibrium, as standout member Camila Caballo’s exit has left them a hiatus bound foursome.

But in the dark ages of 2015, the quintet were dealing with other gruesome realities as witnessed by their contribution to the Hotel Transylvania 2 soundtrack, I’m in Love with a Monster!

Of course, all should be fine with the talented members of this outlet. Fearlessly bisexual member Lauren Jauregui, in particular, should go far, as evidenced by Strangers, her evocative collaboration with Halsey.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Horror Mash-up: Maureen O’Hara and Maria Ouspenskaya

Published April 28, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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The scarlet streaked Maureen O’Hara began her career in such gothic offerings as Jamaica Inn, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and the classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame, both featuring her mentor Charles Laughton. Famed as an acting teacher, the luminescent Maria Ouspenskaya is best remembered for the spooky warnings that she gave to the unfortunate Lon Chaney, Jr. in the original The Wolf Man. Reprising that favored role in Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Ouspenskaya also gave a humorously vibrant performance in the Universal shocker The Mystery of Marie RogetDance 2

Thankfully, these two dynamic forces met face-to-face in the 1940 romantic-comedy musical Dance, Girl, Dance. Here, O’Hara is the strong willed Judy O’Brien. Longing for a career as a professional dancer, O’Brien’s extreme pride finds her turning a blind eye to true offers of help while establishing herself as a joke act in burlesque – setting up her rival, Bubbles, played with sharp intent by Lucille Ball, for applause.

Ouspenskaya, meanwhile, plays O’Hara’s loving movement mentor, Madame Lydia Basilova. They two have a tender and affectionate relationship, one that is cut short when tragedy removes Basilova from the scene…just as she is about to help launch O’Brien on a true artistic journey.

lucille danceDirected by Dorothy Arzner, one of the few female directors working in Hollywood’s Golden Age, this truly enjoyable outing, nicely, has several moments of feminist intent. The last act, in particular, features a truly fiery O’Hara, excelling as O’Brien blasts society’s double standards with pointed fervor.

But, overall, this is simply just a fun romp wherein,  unsurprisingly, Ball nearly steals the show here with her snappy demeanor. But , importantly, it is O’Hara and Ouspenskaya  who decorate it with visual significance and real heart.

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Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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